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What are Advance Directives?

By Zachary Mushkatel on

An advance directive is a document that specifies your wishes if you become unable to make decisions for yourself. These include naming the person you want to take over your financial, healthcare, and other decisions, explaining what kinds of end of life care you do or do not want, and other instructions.

The state of Arizona offers an Advance Directive Registry, which is a free database that stores certain types of advance directives. Hospitals, rescue workers, and other professionals can access the database from anywhere in the state, improving the chances that the instructions in your advance directive will be carried out even if the unexpected happens.

The Advance Directive Registry allows for the filing of three types of advance directives:

  • Living Wills. In a living will, you can explain your wishes regarding life-prolonging medical treatments. A living will may also be known as a “medical directive” or “health care directive.” It should not be confused with a living trust, which is a method for holding and distributing property.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney. In a health care power of attorney, you give another person the power to make your medical decisions – including carrying out the decisions expressed in your living will – if you become unable to give these instructions yourself. A health care power of attorney can also be given the power to pay your medical bills and take other steps related to your care, if you wish.
  • Mental Health Power of Attorney. A mental health power of attorney appoints another person to make your mental health decisions for you if you become unable to do so. A licensed psychiatrist or psychologist must decide if you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. It also allows you to authorize or refuse certain mental health treatments.

If you need help preparing advance directives, a will, a trust, or any other estate planning tools, the skilled Phoenix estate law attorneys at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, can help. Call us today at (623) 889-0691 for a free, confidential consultation.